Monday, 30 March 2009

Cast of thousands

Well STW ride number 2, lowey had mapped out a local ride and invited the STW massive to join him, I didn't think I was going to make it but I managed to get up and get out. Wow what a turn out, 28 of us all in all and the weather was fantastic, cold start but clear skies and it just got warmer as the day went on. Rivington, winter hill, darwen and great hill, the only thing missing from it was Jons 200 and I did that on the way over to the meet :) A group ride that big wasn't without it's problems, gates and singletrack sections involved a bit of qeueing, tockholes cafe were beseiged when we turned up en masse and the steep tricky bit on darwen hill was carnage but no bad crashes. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and there was lots of cake at the end. Brilliant day out and there are already plans for another one soon, great stuff.

Pics here and here

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Pissing in the wind

Horrible nasty head wind on the way home lastnight but I got my head down and just carried on pushing the pedals, did an extended route via atherton and after the climb out I enjoyed the tailwind all the way into town.

Burk text me last night he's got himself a nice new orange 5 pro, sounds good, hopefully he'll be riding again soon then.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Nice weather for ducks

Blast, lots of rain means a road ride into work putting me in close proximity with all the cocks on the road again. Couple of 'incidents' this morning. Oh and you know those loops you get for your laces on footwear now instead of eyelets? First time I saw them I thought bad idea, surely the laces will cut through them over time, but they seem to have worked out ok cos years later they are still in use. Except for my northwaves which use laces with similar characteristics to cheese wire, snapped one of the loops last night and on inspection the other top loops aren't far behind, quite a bit of wear. The lower loops are fine, it just seems to be the top ones that take the strain when you try to get them tight. This, the heel going wonky and them not being as toasty warm as I expected means I doubt I'll buy these again, pity cos I really like the look of them and they are dead comfy.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

One perfect sunrise

Clear blue sky - check
Shorts - check
Bike - check
Sun glinting off canal - check
Sinuous ribbon of singletrack wending its way through the woods - check
Properly powerful hot shower - check
Big bowl of crunchy nut cornflakes at my desk - check
Shaping up to be a bloody good day.

Monday, 23 March 2009

No ordinary morning

Bliss, offroad commute has finally dried out due to the dry weather and the trees doing their spring thing, getting a growth spurt on and sucking up all the water. This morning was brilliant, really windy day so would have been a horrible road ride but down in the Irwell valley twisting my way through the trees on a cracking bit of singletrack it was fantastic! Its so much faster in the dry cos I actually let go of the brakes, perfect morning. Of course it's now trying to rain with more forecast in the week, damn!

clean-ish, originally uploaded by D0NK.

Blowing hot and cold

Went out for a ride on saturday, I was supposed to be trying most of the route of next weeks STW ride but that didn't work out. Tho nice weather was promised it was really overcast and chilly so I went out dressed accordingly, shorts with knee warmers and softshell. Up the road drag out of town the sun came out and before I got to barrow bridge I was sweltering so had to stop. Lesson learned these lusso knee warmers a *really* hard to take off without taking your keks off first. More suitably dressed I carried on, up the climb to winterhill, once at the top a thick mist came over the wind started up and I froze, back on with the softshell no chance of getting the knee warmers on. I was suffering up the first climb, still not recovered from infection so decided to cut down the ride. Off the back off winterhill (front for you chorley-ites) steep downhill to belmont road and over to great hill, still boggy and I pushing at times. The downhill was great (haha) tho. Round the resers up rivi and home. Legs were sore sunday.

Friday, 20 March 2009

micturating sharp objects

That ropey feeling was the onset of a kidney infection, not nice. Couple of days off work and 4 days off the bike during the nicest weather of the year. I have not been a happy bunny.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Talladega sh*tes

What a great steaming pile of bovine excrement. Sat down to watch it last night and with a bit of effort managed to watch 20 whole minutes at which point Sacha Baron Cohen made an appearance and I switched off. Elf was watchable but all the other Will Ferrell films I've seen have disappointed, the odd funny bit with loads of tedium in between.
On a brighter note went watching Gran Torino last week, decent, not as good as I thought it was going to be but well worth watching, tho I'd recommend the kid who walked out of english when they read to kill a mocking bird doesn't go to see it, lots of racist comments.

Feeling proper ropey today, dunno why.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Hack and slash bike surgery

Wanted to get my inbred up and running again for tomorrow so I decided to bodge it, stick an old chain on there. Hmm no 8 speed chains, will have to use this 9 speed chain and a cog off a cassette. Take it outside to check it and check my cleats at the same time, oops something doesn't feel right. Last night when I put the new cleats on I overtightened them and stripped the threads on the steel plate embedded in the sealed waterproof expensive goretex shoes, bugger, I had an idea, they've got a pair of holes so I managed to swivel the plate around and got the cleats back on without cutting into the innersole - result. Anyway the reason they didn't feel right was cos I had bent the plate when I over tightened the screws so I had to slice the inside of the soles to fit a new plate anyway. I eventually got outside and the cog and chain are fine but pedal tension is set too tight with new cleats, as I mess around with that I note the bearings are a bit graunchy so take em off and regrease them. Front brakes are rubbing pretty bad too, cantis have seized and aren't springing back to normal position, bang in some spares, nope these are seized too put on some more spares - nice. Oh bugger rear pads need changing.... So one 10 minute job ended up taking a few hours, don't time fly when your having fun?

Oh and this could well be a contributing factor to my chain keep jumping the other night and why it started happening so often so suddenly. I guess I broke 1 tooth on saturday or previously and then on tuesday the other broke cue lots of chain dropping.

cog, originally uploaded by D0NK.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

20mm makes a world of difference

Last year I had a nigh on perfect setup on my singlespeed, wide enough bars to swing on whilst getting up the hills, the right reach to pull decent bunny hops (hopping up those big 18" kerbstones was do-able) and I never wanted to drop the saddle on sketchy steep downhills (and I'm a compulsive saddle dropper) Anyway the tranz-x bar was a pretty very old one so as part of preperation for HTN I put some slightly newer azonic bars on, similar width rise and sweep but nope I'd lost it, didn't feel quite right. Did HTN without trouble, nowt too sketchy on the course, in the following months I tweaked the position but couldn't get it right. A couple of months ao I got some wider OS bars and shorter stem, played around with that but couldn't get it right, extra width was good for corners but I had trouble lifting the front wheel. Anyway I swapped back to the azonics last week stuck an extra 10mm spacer under the stem moved the grips in 5mm each end and WOW I've found the sweet spot again. I can lift the front easily (good job as I'm on rigid forks) bunny hop, corner and hit the steep downs no probs. As I rode out to the night ride last night I was especially enjoying storming down Jons 200 and then hitting a pedally section, no gears to change, no saddle to raise no suspension settings to faff with just ride fast and smooth. Great stuff...

Of course then it went tits up, I met up with Junkyard and Trio (and Steve but he forgot his lights so went back home) climbed up rivi no probs, on the climb up winterhill my chain came off and I cracked my knee on the bars, reset it and a minute later chain dropped again I impaled myself on saddle - ouch. Next my shoes unclipped (worn cleats) then the chain dropped again just as we got to the top road. By this time I was pretty peeved, chain issues with singlespeeds are bad news, so I left trio and junkyard to it and coasted home, not happy. Just changed my cleats and I've got a new chain on order, I'll be back for another go next week.

Monday, 9 March 2009

There's a monkey in the attic!

Is what i said as I woke up on saturday, very strange dream. Anyway I went out for a quick ride, I did the climb from Darwen to Darwen tower for the first time in ages. It was the first proper climb I ever tried with a singlespeed and I thought impossible! So I was on a mission this time, there's a really steep bend about halfway up, grips OK but it is proper steep and you don't get a run up. I was standing on the pedals and at stalling speed for a while but I managed it and the gradient levelled out for a while then a final sting as it steepens up again right at the top. I hit it as hard as I could and was thinking "yes I've done it" then I went over w stone water bar right near the top, I didn't hit it dead on and its already off camber, the back wheel slid about 2 ft to the left and I was down, a broken man. F*cksocks! Gutted. So I went back down to the slightly flatter section and did it again harder and faster and made it. I know it still doesn't count as a clean run but I'm fairly happy, it's taken it's toll on my knees tho, they're feeling a bit delicate now.

Went up rivi and it looks like someones doing guided rides, load of lads in identical riding gear and 2 guys telling them about the descent coming up - cool, wonder how much they charge. Also saw a guy on a pimped out ellsworth epiphany - mmmm. We chatted for a bit and he reckoned it was 23lbs, wow, my inbred rigid and gearless probably weighs about the same. Home for cake and tea, genoa cake not as good as bobbys or mcvites fruit cake but it'll do.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

More piccies!

Click picture for more.

Oh yeah I forgot to mention one of the best things about the ride, fast+rocky+heckler*≠punctures. Yep no punctures all day I was well made up.....yoshi wasn't so lucky :-)

* i.e. riding like a loon

Monday, 2 March 2009

Meeting strange men part 2

Met up with some more people from STW on sunday, Yoshimi drove us (thanks) and we met up with sfb, lowey, ton and friends at grizedale. There were 10 of us all together and we had a 20miler pencilled in, should be pretty easy (wrong!) The route was half unknown to me and the other half was stuff I'd ridden in the opposite direction and wow, it was flinkin ace. Even the rain didn't bother me, I tend to mince down wet rock but I was on a flyer, blasting down the rocky sections, I was even cornering pretty well. Moor lane down from parkamoor was a highlight as was breasty haw, proper twisty turny stuff that you dont often get. I attacked the climbs pretty hard too as I knew it was a short(ish) ride so my legs are a bit sore today. Bit wierd that, 45miles/7000ft on a pert reasonable weight full susser last week, 20miles/3300ft on a heavy squishy full susser this week, legs hurt more now than last week, whats the difference? Not sure if it's cos I hit everything faster than usual or the heavy squishy bike hmm. The stuff I knew that we did backwards was brilliant too, titties track was a great ending and the drop to colthouse was a blinder, I even managed to ride the rock drop I'd be scoping out the last couple of times I'd ridden up to slack wood.
1st ride of the year for the heckler too, as usual it reminded me what a fantastic bike it is when it gets fast and rocky.

ST Grizedale Ride - 1-3-09, originally uploaded by Dee P Jay.
more pics here, more to follow from sfb hopefully. Oh and people brought tea urns and assorted cakes for a post ride refuel, how cool is that?